Don't sleep on this Pacers player during the first round

This veteran can produce for the Indiana Pacers off the bench in playoffs.
Indiana Pacers v Milwaukee Bucks: Semifinals - 2023 NBA In-Season Tournament
Indiana Pacers v Milwaukee Bucks: Semifinals - 2023 NBA In-Season Tournament / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

While Tyrese Haliburton made his highly-anticipated playoff debut, one of his teammates is entering his fourth. This role player off the bench was a part of the Pacers' last playoff appearance four years ago.

Backup point guard T.J. McConnell could be the sleeper pick on this roster to boost Indiana into the next round of the postseason. He has been a major contributor to the NBA's highest-scoring bench during the regular season.

Offensively, the Pacers struggled, which is rare. Especially against a weak Milwaukee defense. On the season, Indiana averaged 123.3 points per game.

That is almost thirty points less than what they scored in the opening game of the series against the Bucks. They also tallied ten fewer assists in this contest than they normally do on average. In Sunday's loss against the Bucks, McConnell was the only player off the bench to score in double digits. He recorded 10 points on 5-13 shooting from the field.

The Indiana Pacers need T.J. McConnell to help get the bench unit back on track

On the season, he has averaged 10.2 points and 2.7 rebounds a game. His 5.5 assists. and 55.6 field goal percentage also rank in the top 30 and top 20, respectively. This is McConnell's eighth season in the NBA.

In the last five games of the regular season, the former Arizona Wildcat averaged 17.6 points and 7.4 assists. Both are well above his averages for the year.

Rick Carlisle should have his team ready with adjustments and a better showing offensively in Game 2. The second game of this series is Tuesday night. The next two contests will be played in Indianapolis at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.


Look for McConnell to keep the offense flowing for the Pacers' second unit and him to come up big when Haliburton is taking his rest on Indiana's bench.